On Worship’s Boundaries

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Uncategorized, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Just yesterday, Reformed Worship put up a post of mine on worship’s boundaries. Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the pastors, thinkers, and theologians who ministered in the wake of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses. One real “aha” moment of my reading of Luther for doctoral work came in the idea that Luther’s articulation of simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously justified and sinful) isn’t merely a statement about the … Read More

Concerns about the Resurgence of Liturgy

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

Tongue firmly in cheek: I’m beginning to think that Santayana’s quip, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” should be added to Scripture, because it has proven to be pretty infallible. (Okay, okay, it shouldn’t be added to Scripture…it lacks apostolicity, universality, etc., etc.) Sound Familiar? My new context at Cathedral Church of the Advent has me reflecting a lot on the history of the Church of England, and right now I’ve been fixated upon … Read More

The Chink in the Reformation’s Iconoclastic Armor

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Church & Ecclesiology, History of Worship and Church Music9 Comments

Zombies in the Lights A few days ago, I ended up in a really fascinating dialogue on Twitter with thoughtful worship leader, Jordan Atwell (@jordanatwell) and visual liturgy smart guy, Stephen Proctor (@stephenproctor). We were entertaining the question, in response to my tweet about this wonderful article, about what it looks like to pastorally engage visual aesthetics in worship. We tend to think of things like projection, screens, lights, and other visual atmospherics as either neutral cultural phenomena or (more … Read More

How Far Off Are We from the Reformers’ Vision for Lent?

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music1 Comment

I utilize a wonderful little liturgical resource in some of my worship planning for the chapel services at Knox Seminary, where I both study and teach. This book is a devotionally-oriented compendium of the collects (the short prayers, invocations which “collect” the hearts of the people at the beginning of worship) of the brilliant liturgical reformer, Thomas Cranmer. This book presents the week’s collect along with a few historical observations of how the prayer was written and then offers a … Read More

Coral Ridge Music Releases – Chelsea Chen Live at Coral Ridge

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church MusicLeave a Comment

Friends, I’m so excited to let you know about the release of a live concert recording that our young organist, Chelsea Chen, performed last year on our 7,000-pipe Ruffatti organ. There’s a lot of off thinking out there when it comes to musical style in the church these days. One of those skewed ideas is that the pipe organ has no place in the modern church music paradigm. A year ago I engaged an experimental thought project about what the … Read More

Making Changes to Your Worship Service in the Light of Pastoral Care…what History Teaches Us

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, History of Worship and Church Music, Worship and Pastoral MinistryLeave a Comment

You’re Not “Just the Music Guy” We worship leaders tend to think too lowly of ourselves. “I’m just the music guy.” If we don’t say it, we often think it. Many of us are simply unaware of just how much we shape the people we lead. In fact, the way people are formed through our leadership looks strangely like the way disciples are made under other, well, pastors. I’ve been jumping in an out of a teriffic old book called … Read More

One Subversive Worship Songwriter You May Not Know

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church MusicLeave a Comment

Re-gifting Worship I once heard David Gungor (of The Brilliance…fabulous) talk about his charismatic past meeting his liturgical present as coalescing around a “ninja liturgy”–a stealth liturgical narrative quietly creeping into and taking over the modern worship song set. I’ve been thinking more about this kind of subversion (especially as I’ve been writing The Worship Pastor), maybe arriving at the conclusion that it’s less subversion and more just great contextualization… re-gifting in the best possible light. When it comes to … Read More

In Search of the Emotionally Persuasive Liturgy

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church Music, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Over at Reformed Worship, I wouldn’t want you to miss an important post of mine that posits some very current questions I am asking. Once again, my investigation of Thomas Cranmer has proven a helpful launchpad into current worship issues and reflections.  The questions I’m seeking Cranmer’s help in answering actually have a lot to do with yesterday’s post on my journey in listening better to the charismatic tradition. Maybe to encourage you to go check out the post, here … Read More

How EDM is Changing the Form of Song Structure in Pop Music…and Maybe Congregational Music

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Songwriting6 Comments

The New EDM “Chorus” Anyone who has been listening to pop music especially the last five years can note the spilling of electronic dance music (EDM) into the mainstream. More and more collaboration is occuring between major EDM artist/DJs/producers (think David Guetta, Avicii, Skrillex [I’ll lump him broadly in]). Songs like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” and Guetta/Usher’s “Without You” are the kinds of things I’m talking about. One notices, though, a clash of forms as the two genres of vocals-driven … Read More

A Helpful Primer for a Daunting but Important Book on Liturgy

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music4 Comments

These days, I meet more and more worship leaders interested in exploring the history and thought of Christian liturgy, and it’s hard to recommend works that both do justice to the forms and evolutions of Christian worship across time and remain brief. One landmark work, Dom Gregory Dix’s The Shape of the Liturgy, is a daunting and massive tome (which I haven’t read in whole) that I wish, for the sake of unschooled inquisitors like me, were more brief. Well, … Read More